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Valemount Secondary School
News Item

District makes catchment and capacity recommendations

May 06, 2019

May 6, 2019 --

A report to the School District No. 57 (Prince George) Education Services Committee has made district-wide recommendations regarding catchment and capacity for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond.

The report was issued by the Catchment and Capacity Review Stakeholder Advisory Committee (Committee) chaired by School District No. 57 Secretary Treasurer Darleen Patterson. The Committee discussed information provided on each Family of Schools at meetings on Dec. 19, 2018 and Jan. 8, 2019.

One significant conclusion was that enrolment projections for the next five years at the secondary level exceed the existing capacity of secondary schools in Prince George. The Committee noted, however, that renovation of D.P. Todd Secondary School remains on the School District's five-year capital plan. The Committee recommended further review and discussion be held with the Ministry of Education to determine the feasibility of changing the D.P. Todd five-year capital plan project to an expansion/renovation to incorporate an additional 600 seats in the school district. The Committee said the use of additional portables at D.P. Todd will be considered for a short-term basis.

Another significant conclusion was that enrolment at Duchess Park Secondary School – which hosts the district's secondary school French Immersion Program – continues to be in excess of capacity. Based on information provided, the Committee recommended enrolment for 2019-2020 be restricted to in-catchment only for all regular-program elementary schools in the Duchess Park Family of Schools. In an effort to correct the overpopulation at Duchess Park Secondary, the Committee advised that two elementary schools currently in the Duchess Park Family be moved to the D.P. Todd Family starting with Grade 7 students leaving elementary in June 2020. These elementary schools are Spruceland Traditional and Edgewood.

According to the report, College Heights Secondary School is also in an overcapacity situation and the challenges are projected to increase as the population in that area of Prince George grows. While there may be the potential to explore the addition of another section to the school, the Committee determined that enrolment for 2019-2020 should continue to be restricted to its catchment area only.

Other recommendations are as follows:

D.P. Todd Family

The Committee noted that the unexpected enrolment growth at Heritage Elementary in September 2017, which resulted in the movement of an additional portable classroom to the site, has remained constant and is expected to stay at a similar level for a number of years. There remained consensus that, ideally, no more than three portables should be added to any elementary school site to ensure adequate access to the school's gymnasium, library and other school-wide resources. The Committee determined that 2019-2020 enrolment should continue to be restricted to catchment only for Heritage Elementary.

The Committee again noted the space projected to be available at Quinson Elementary School and recommended the catchment areas for all three elementary schools in this Family be reviewed.

Duchess Park Family

The Committee recommended the enrolment cap of three Kindergarten classes of 20 students each at Ecole Lac des Bois in September 2019 continue. Additionally, it recommended that, in the future, School District No. 57 investigate the impact of enrolling four Kindergarten classes of 20 students each at Ecole Lac des Bois. The recommendation took into account the historical retention of students in the program, the capacity of the school and the ability to staff and support the school.

College Heights Family

The Committee recommended that Kindergarten registration for 2019-2020 in the French Immersion Program at College Heights Elementary School be capped at two classes for a maximum of 40 students.

Kelly Road Family

The Committee noted the capacity challenges in the elementary schools in this Family. With the number of new residential developments in this area of Prince George, the Committee discussed a number of possibilities to change catchment boundaries by changing busing. The Committee recommended further review of the catchment boundaries for the area.

Current and projected available capacity at Nukko Lake Elementary School, compared to the capacity of the school, was also discussed. The Committee determined that 2019-2020 enrolment should continue to be restricted to catchment only for Glenview Elementary, Hart Highlands Elementary and Springwood Elementary.

Mackenzie, McBride and Valemount Families

The Committee determined that with the addition of the middle years program at Mackenzie Secondary the capacity of Morfee Elementary is sufficient for the projected enrolment. It was also noted there remains significant capacity at Mackenzie Secondary. 

 The Committee decided no recommendations were required related to catchment and capacity in Mackenzie, McBride and Valemount.

Prince George Secondary Family

The projected enrolment for Prince George Secondary is nearing capacity, the Committee found, and will not allow for the movement and integration of the French and French Immersion Programs.

The Committee also determined that further review could be performed regarding the combination of Blackburn Elementary, Buckhorn Elementary and Pineview Elementary Schools.

As well, the recommendation was made that the cap of two Kindergarten classes of 20 students each for Polaris Montessori Elementary School continue for 2019-2020.  

The Committee also recommended that the total enrolment at Peden Hill Elementary School be monitored, and, as required, the catchment areas for Peden Hill Elementary, Westwood Elementary and Pinewood Elementary be reviewed to manage elementary school enrolment in this area of Prince George.

General Recommendations

The Committee made the following recommendations for its work in subsequent years:

With respect to the dual-track French Immersion Programs at College Heights Elementary and Heather Park Elementary, provide French Immersion enrolment information, to be included with the regular program enrolment at the schools, and in the Duchess Park Family for transition to the Grade 8 to 12 secondary program, as Duchess Park is the secondary school that provides the secondary French Immersion Program.

This information will assist in the discussion of the capacity of College Heights Elementary and Heather Park Elementary to accommodate their dual-track enrolment, and Duchess Park Secondary to manage its capacity and enrolment as a triple-track secondary school as Duchess Park is the secondary school that provides the secondary French Immersion Program of the dual-track elementary schools.

The Catchment and Capacity Review Stakeholder Advisory Committee was established by the School District No. 57 Board of Education on June 20, 2017.